I just got back from Seattle. Doesn't really have anything to do with anything, except for the fact that it inspires a question I had in mind for a while anyway.
How do you depict a certain state or community in a way reflective of your personal experience, without stereotyping them?
Anyway, back to plotting my next book.
I'd say just write about them honestly. As someone who's spent a lot of time with Seattlites I can safely say that there are some stereotypes for a reason. So just depict the stuff that's important as accurately and fairly as you can. Seattle's so strange and so full of characters that even though some people are basically caricatures there are so many other fresh and vibrant inhabitants that if you chose to write about it and included even some of them then I'm sure you'd be fine. Just don't be a dick. Pretty simple. And probably goes for every other city, town, whatever in the world. Except Portland. Portland's just fucked.
You approach a city the same way you approach a character. If it's a caricature or a stereotype it's just not very interesting to read about, regardless of your personal experience. Get below the surface.